“Looking Like Wolves to the Forest”: Ukrainian Statehood between Pereyaslav and a Common European Home Graef, Daniel
This thesis examines Ukraine’s domestic instability and undecided East-West geopolitical orientation in a long-term historical context defined by weak or non-existent statehood and ambiguous and suppressed nationhood. Ukraine’s geopolitical environment has been cyclical, in that it has faced an East-West pull especially during brief periods of independence: prior to 1654, during the Russian Revolution and Civil War, and from 1991 to the present. Moreover, Ukrainian statehood was subsumed and quashed by the Russian Imperial and Soviet regimes, the legacies of which have trammelled independent Ukraine’s state-building efforts. This long-term perspective sheds light on why parts of Ukraine today – despite the integration-based promises of post-Cold-War Europe – have succumbed to the same logic of Russian imperialism that has been almost consistently exerting itself since 1654.
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